Guest post: Best practice for bloggers working with PRs

So you’ve established yourself in the blogging community and those fabulous PR offers are starting to trickle in to your inbox. It’s very exciting to be offered products to review even if you start small. But how do you make sure you don’t dent the great reputation that you have built up, and what is best practice when it comes to working with PRs? Nickie @ Typecast has a six-step approach that could work for you too…

I never set out to write reviews or accept sponsored posts but I have learnt what can work for my blog by asking six questions each time I receive an offer:

Who? How? When? Where? What? Why?

  • Who is the offer for?
  • How will this fit in with the theme of my blog?
  • When does the review have to be done for?
  • Where has the PR got my email address from?
  • What will the campaign bring to me and/or my blog?
  • Why have I been chosen for this campaign?

PRs are being paid to sell a product or service for a brand so the introductory email is bound to be full of WOW. I want to get to the nitty gritty but so do the PRs. They may want to know what your reader figures are (page views or unique visitors) as they need to make sure their client’s product is going to be seen by the widest audience. This is all normal.

A word of warning. There have been a spate of emails winging their way around the newer bloggers on the block offering lovely items for review (usually from someone representing or pertaining to be the owner of a fairly new company), striking up an email conversation, asking for those elusive stats and then one of two things happens – communication is cut or an email is returned with the simple line, “Your stats are crap!”

Be vigilant. Check the email address of the PR. Is it from a named organisation or is it from a Gmail or Hotmail address? Is everything in the email address spelt correctly (example from this week: “nusery” instead of “nursery”)?

Do a quick search for the PR company or the named brand. Do they actually exist? Having a relationship with PR’s and brands is a great bonus of the parent blogger world. You would trust an honest (not necessarily positive) review of a fellow blogger, wouldn’t you?

By running a review you also experience a few extra hits on your blog from prolonged Google searches and the brand enjoy the digital bonuses of having linkbacks to their products and website – an important part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

There are many people out there wondering why the parent blogging world has experienced a boom in the last 12 months and are trying to find out The Secret. As far as I know there isn’t one – it’s all about being yourself and not forcing the situation. Your blog is your corner of the internet. Protect it and protect yourself.

–Nickie O’Hara, www.iamtypecast.com

Nickie O’Hara blogs at Typecast. With one finger on the pulse and the other on the keyboard, she is not afraid to say it as she sees it. She is a true procrastinator, drinks wine, is occasionally published and is a Nana in her spare time. 

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About Holly Seddon

Holly Seddon is the BritMums blog editor. She's a writer, editor and community consultant and helped launched the community for Adoption UK, which won charity website of the year just 9 months later. She also writes a music blog and is a near-constant presence on the BritMums network.

9 Responses to Guest post: Best practice for bloggers working with PRs

  1. Becky Willoughby (@LakesSingleMum) 15 August 2011 at 19:55 #

    haven’t had rude comments but may have had some e-mails just testing the competition…

  2. Annie 15 August 2011 at 20:04 #

    Thanks for that Nickie ! That’s all handy to know, it’s all a bit daunting being a newbie at times and it’s great that there are lovely bloggers out there to offer help and guide us along through some of the kerfuddling bits like brands and reviews.
    I’ve just done my first 2 reviews but I don’t intend to do them too often and like you say it’s good to have something relevant to what you blog about – that’s why I have approached a well known gin brand ! ( I kid you not! )
    Myself I have only had one PR ‘offer’ pop into my inbox and that was not relevant for me so I politely declined it. I have to admit that the only reviews I have done so far are for companies that I have contacted myself.
    Thanks for the tips off on the scammy emails – I had heard ‘murmurings’ on the grapevine that there have been some unpleasant emails doing the rounds but wasn’t sure what was going on !

  3. Nicola Seary 15 August 2011 at 20:41 #

    Thanks Nickie.I haven’t yet experienced any negativity personally since starting my Blog in May but after seeing similar incidents recently on Facebook aimed at Compers I think it is people jealous of other’s success.

  4. nicci cowdell-murray 15 August 2011 at 22:16 #

    thanks so much Nicky , very interesting and appropriate! I have been the target of such emails and being quite new to blogging didn’t realise this sort of thing went on . I will be much more vigilant and aware from now on x

  5. Tasting Pages 15 August 2011 at 23:31 #

    Interesting post Nickie, thanks. Am curious to know what numbers you’ve found PRs are hoping to hear, in terms of page views? What do you send them to show your site’s stats? How do you think PRs tend to find new blogs? Thanks very much!

  6. Nickie 16 August 2011 at 12:39 #

    Personally, I send them my page views and my unique visitor figures per month (available from Google Analytics or even your own Blogger/Wordpress stats are useful). As far as I’m aware, some PRs are given a target figure and will not accept blogs under that figure. I imagine that differs from campaign to campaign and from PR to PR. I am not party to those figures. Other brands will only work with a certain PageRank and above.
    PRs/brands have usually worked with forums such as BritMums to find blogs or have registered with the Tots100 PR facility which has filters to target registered blogs for their campaigns.

  7. Regardsrainbow 16 August 2011 at 19:58 #

    Great advice Nickie, as usual. Bloggers can also use http://www.blog-match.com too, this has registered bona fide brands so bloggers can trust them and work with them honestly

  8. mummy@bodfortea 19 August 2011 at 07:57 #

    Great advice as always Nickie, thanks.

  9. MsXpat 13 February 2012 at 22:39 #

    You know I naively never thought about the protection aspect, thanks for pointing that out.